Doing the toughest one day endurance event in the world, was just a thought in my head over 2 years back. And here I am writing my very first Iron distance triathlon race report.
My ultimate support, wifey and me drove to Windsor, CA, a day before. Attended the pre race meeting, packet pickup, and quick stroll through the expo. Set up the run transition. The pre-race day temperature had already soared upto 102F.
The place we had booked our stay, did not had an a/c. So the whole plan to take a nice long nap in the evening did not work. My bad, that I assumed the place will have an a/c. Did my booking using airbnb. Lesson learnt, that for all the events, always make your stay comfortable.
Anyhow, spent the evening, in prepping my race nutrition, setting up the transition bags, and the special needs bag.
Then comes the big day !!
Woke up at 4:45 am. Drank a bottle of water, cleared the bowel. Had almond butter and jam sandwich. An almond cookie, and that is all.
Unfortunately, we arrived at the transition around 10 mins late L. I missed my wave start, and was only hoping if the race referee can be kind enough. I stumbled upon him as he was going through all the bikes on the rack. Told him I missed my start. He was very kind in pointing me to dress up and jump into the water, no questions asked. By the way, I did meet him again, after my finish to thank him :).
Swim 2.4 miles – (1:38:08 mins) The water was shallow, not cold. But you get the buoyancy advantage with the wet suit. At sections of the river, water was just a foot deep, and almost everyone was seen walking. It personally was hard to walk when you can easily glide yourself through water. Also the swim was two loops out and back. Out being against the current, and back was with the current.
Anyhow, the swim was OK sorts. I have had better swims in the ocean
T1 (13:03 mins) – Was conservative, given my first 140point6. Did munch in a small sandwich and took sips from the bottle.
Bike 112 miles (6:53:35 mins) – Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/171902788
Started slow, and picked up the pace as soon as I got a downhill. Cruising at 20 mph, in the first hour, was so much fun, till I got a flat at the 21st mile L. Dang!! My first flat in a race. Heartbroken for sure. Use the time to eat and drink quickly while fixing the rear flat. Took off again. The whole plan now was to pick up the average pace, without hammering hard. Increased the cadence going uphill, and hammered hard downhill, to get the most momentum. Still conservative in the first loop. At around mile 44 or 45, comes the Chalk hill road, the steepest section of it is at 7% grade, for 0.6 miles. Took it easy.
Another flat, damn !! I felt, as if I am on a regular training ride, rather than a race. The whole plan of doing a solid bike leg was shattered.
My second loop on the bike was flatless, but the heat was picking up. In the second loop, I blasted my way up the chalk hill road, while everyone on the side and on the bike were amazed. Seriously, I was talking to myself, and going hard on the hill, and then hammered myself down. From then on, I kept the tempo up, all the way to the bike finish.
T2 (8:12 mins)– This was much better than the T1. Still took my time, as I knew it would be a long day.
Run – 26.2 miles (5:44:09 mins) Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/171902764
I started the run, gulping down a glass of water. Started the run slow, taking time for the body to recover from the bike leg. Ate a cookie, allowed the food to settle down. After mile #1, I hydrated a little more, wet my towel and started running at a sweet pace of just under 8min/mile. I think I did this for close to 2 miles. But held back on the pace again, because heat was a killer on the day.
Plan was to take the run as 3 loops, with each loop again broken down into halves of 4 miles each, with a little extra. This went really well. First loop was slow, on the second one I started to feel better, and infact skipped one of the aid stations, to continue running, I did this 3 times rather. Took 3-4 pee stops, was scared to see blood in my urine. This made me slow down, and I then walked the next mile, wondering if it was hydration. Resumed my run, as I was felt OK on the hydration part.
Met lot of energetic people, shook hands, high 5’s and spoke to amazing volunteers cheering us up. Setting mental goals like – ‘I will run till I catch up with that guy in green shirt’ OR ‘I will run as long as that girl in the white cap is running’ OR ‘I will run till I see the aid station’ and once you see the aid station ‘I will run till the aid station, and walk through it’. My last loop was great, the temperature had cooled down, and it was getting dark, picked up the pace, I guess 9-10 min/mile, and scored the last mile at 7:46 min/mile. Awestruck !! I finished freaking 140.6 miles ….. with a sprint.
My nutrition throughout –
- Almond Butter and Jam sandwich with table salt sprinkled.
- Potato and oats patties with high salt content
- Two energy bars, cut into 4 pieces each for the entire race.
- 2 Honey stinger gels
- 3 Honey stinger gels mixed in water bottle on the bike.
- 3 bottles of water on the bike, from the aid stations
- 3 bottles of EFS energy drink, lots of salt in this drink.
- Picked two banana halves on the run, and few Orio cookies.
- A glass of coke, to get the gas out J.
- And a small towel which I kept wet and put ice in it.
Things that went well –
- Nutrition was awesome. Not too heavy and not too light, just right.
- No dehydration, the plan of sticking to a wet towel to keep sipping through it worked the best.
- All through, I relied mostly on salt and real food. Used only 2 gel packets.
- 3 other gels were used by diluting them in a water bottle on the bike.
- Used 3 salt tabs, to avoid any cramps.
- Played conservative at the Transitions, giving myself enough time.
Things that did not go well-
- Late for the swim start. I missed it by 10-12 mins L. I was mentally down.
- No T1 setup, because of the first point.
- Sleep deprived for two nights, and pretty tired for no reason.
- Flats are no good. Will use a tire liner, going ahead to avoid any flat.
- My bottle cage broke, I just made adjustments a night before, should not have touched it L.
- No eating 30 mins before getting off the bike, and no eating and drinking for the first 1-2 miles of the run. Avoids bloating.
U never know how far you can do, till you ‘tri’.